A North Carolina woman has picked up the mother of all bargains at her local Goodwill: A copy of the game Stadium Events for Nintendo's NES system. The Goodwill price? $7.99. The game's value? Roughly $15,000.
While most people will be unaware of Stadium Events, collectors count the game as the Holy Grail of NES games. It's estimated only 200 copies were ever released to the public, while collectors believe only ten complete editions of the game still exist.
To put its value in perspective, a still-sealed version of the game attracted a world record price of $41,000 on eBay in 2010, while an unsuspecting mother who accidentally put her son's copy on eBay was gobsmacked as she watched prices soar to $15,000.
So just try and imagine the look on the face of Wilder Hamm on Thursday morning, when a woman walked in his North Carolina store with the game to cash it in.
As the owner of Save Point Video Games in Charlotte, Hamm will have seen plenty of rare games in his time. But, as he told Kotaku, his blurted reaction to seeing Stadium Events - a shocked "Oh my God!" - was understandable.
"Normally in this business, we try not to show our cards," says Hamm. "We're not in the business of ripping people off but, you show that kind of excitement, they start expecting a mountain of money."
"She knew exactly what she had," he added. "When I asked her what she expected to get, she said she expected $7,000 to $15,000, which is on target."
Indeed, that estimate seems right on the money, going by past auctions. This wasn't a sealed Stadium Events, but the box, manual, and cart were all included; not common for this game. After Hamm admitted he couldn't afford to buy the game, the woman mentioned it would be on eBay within the month.
Hamm wished her luck and asked whether he could take a snap of the game before the woman left. "I felt honored just to hold it," he said.
So there you go, folks: Seems there are gems waiting to be found out there in the Goodwills of this world. Here's a peek at Stadium Events in action: